The Cycling Ulster team had a successful outing at the Tour of Omagh over the weekend with victory in the final stage through Laura Wylie who also finished 10th overall while junior rider, Ciara Kelly was 11th overall and second in the under 23 classification.
Davoren Fallon (DCU CC) and Hilary Hughes (Covey Wheelers) ran out the overall winners in the A4 men’s race and the W1/2/3 women’s race.
All the results from the stages can be accessed by clicking here and a report from the final stage can be seen below.
Cycling Ulster wish to congratulate Omagh Wheelers and all those from neighbouring clubs who helped promote a fantastic 10th edition of the race.
Tour of Omagh ends with a Super Sunday
The Spar Tour of Omagh has delivered yet another “Super Sunday” with exciting racing and a nail biting finish.
A grey but dry morning with the potential for rain added to the tension in the air as the final stage started.
There were many questions to be answered – In the A4 race, given so many riders were in contention could a rider or team control of the race or would it be decided on the roads above Gortin.
In the Women’s race there were even more questions; could the powerhouse that was Ballymena ride the legs of the other GC riders and potentially expose any weaknesses, would one of the other GC riders decide to give it a lash or would the Cycling Leinster Women provide a repeat of their 2018 attempts to win the final stage. In the battle for the W3 jersey would a strong Cycling Ulster team be able put the present holder in the red and snatch the jersey for leader Laura Wylie.
An enthralling morning of racing was to provide us with all the answers.
The A4 race began as another cagey affair with attempted breaks quickly snuffed out. The usual contenders Mc Kenny (Emyvale) and Mc Cauley (Strabane Lifford) fought out the first KOH prime and as the race progressed beyond Castlederg, it looked like Lenamore was going to decide the fate of the Yellow Jersey. Nicky Gormley from Carn had other ideas and after a number of attempts the second on the GC was to get away, unfortunately for him he had the yellow jersey for company (Fallon UCD). They were to forge ahead and establish a 90 second lead on the bunch as they approached lenamore. This was to prove decisive and although Gormley won the stage in the sprint young Fallon was to win the GC and the coveted yellow jersey by a mere two seconds. Ciaran Mguire from Harps led the chase to fill the podium. James mc Kenny from Emyvale showed a climber instinct to take the Polka dots and Fallon was also to take the Young riders jersey with Harps winning the team prize.
With the A4 finished it was over to the women and they didn’t disappoint, in fact throughout the weekend their race was as good as any stage race in Ireland this year it had everything and Sunday was to prove no different. As the race commenced the Ulster team went straight to the front of the W3 group, and with assistance from Newry began to real drive this group on. Experience cyclists like Julie Rea guesting for Newry key in organising the effort. The W1/2 group started at a leisurely pace, “A Sunday Coffee spin” according to commissaire Tommy Mc Cague. Laura Campbell found herself of the front and decided to put the head down and “give it a go”. Her Ballymena team mates were happy to let her go and leave the chase to other teams. Laura was to extend her lead on this group to just over two minutes but never really make any inroads on the W3 group who continued to race hard.
The commissaries and moto marshal were superb in running regular time checks and keeping all groups involved. In fact this galvanised the W3 group who down towards Victoria Bridge kept up a relentless pace and by the time they reached the second QOH prime they had a lead of over 6 minutes on the W1/2 group. The Irish women’s commission had also joined the effort in the knowledge that their leader Nikki Taggart was now in the virtual pink jersey and that a real shock could be on the cards.
As the W1/2 group turned towards Victoria Bridge the pace suddenly increased with the GC contenders realising the virtual Pink jersey was now up the road.
On the second QOH the W1 group were to catch the valiant Campbell, this though is a gutsy rider and to help her team she was to attack again on the climb pushing riders out the back. As they turned at Newtownstewart the time to the W3 group had halved and the race was well and truly on. This group contained all the GC contenders bar Yvonne Doran (Leinster) who had regrouped with her team less than a minute behind. They were working hard to get her back on but their effort was in vain and she was to finish in the second chase group almost two minutes down.
As the race approached Gortin and Lenamore the W1/2 group was really driving on and the gap to the W3 group was rapidly falling and Lenamore was to prove crucial. On the foot of the climb four riders from the W3 were to go clear: Wylie and Kelly (Ulster) Taggart (Women’s Commission) and Davenport (UCD) with the Ulster team attempting take time of Taggart in the battle for the W3 jersey. Meanwhile in behind a select group of W1/2 riders (GC Contenders) were also on the climb and less than 30 seconds behind.
On the descent Wylie (Ulster) was to go it alone and with the rest of the W3 group swallowed up by the W1/2 group we witnessed a superb chase for stage victory and the pink jersey. Wylie was to be rewarded and was to claim a stunning stage victory holding of a charging chase by just 11 seconds.
Louise Hart (TC Racing) was the first to from this group with both stage and GC in mind she was to attack just beyond the 1km mark on the drag to the finish. She was to be caught in the last 100m with Smyth winning the sprint for second and Hughes (Westport) in third and claiming some crucial bonus seconds, in fact with Claffey(UCD) in the pink jersey just behind her on the stage the four second bonus awarded to Hughes was to see her clinch the pink jersey by just 2 seconds.
The determined Taggart was to cling to the back of the chase group and win the first ever W3 jersey while the UCD team who so gallantly defended the pink jersey but saw it snatched at the line were to be rewarded as Claffey retained the Polka Don’t jersey.
What a race, The W3 group must be given heaps of praise for their efforts in identifying the inactivity in the W1/2 group and have the courage to really have a go .